AS Camden and Islington Albion develops, Mike Katz – Kilburn councillor – is on reassurance patrol. He’s blogging about it being good to share here:
People in Kilburn and West Hampstead have already asked me if this will affect our relationship with Brent, and force a more ‘easterly’ bias in Camden. In all honesty, I don’t think so.
But you can see what those people in Kilburn and West Hampstead might be concerned about. If the main focus is on Cam-Islo pacts – a measure described by the Islington Gazette as “drastic” rather than “bold” – what of Camden’s important relations with its neighbours in the west. Camden and Brent councils with Kilburn High Road splitting the two, need to maintain close contacts. It’s essential. After all, how many times have we heard ward councillors complain that a two left feet approach has failed to deal effectively with problems around dividing line?
Of course, nobody expects Camden to shut off all correspondence with Brent just because the chief executive is doubling up in Islington. A fortress wall isn’t being built around Camden and Islington. But whose to say there won’t be a shift in emphasis, subtle or overt. It could be unintentional by-product of this “ground-breaking” measure. When shared contracts are let, the first port of call will surely be Islington – even if it would be more beneficial to deal with Brent. Or with Westminster – in Fitzrovia there is often confusion over environment policy at the streets where Camden territory runs out.
Some might argue Camden and Barnet – as London Assembly twins – should bond. Some might say Camden and Brent – linked by a parliamentary seat – should be the link. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see how noses could be be crooked out of joint if London’s NBFs don’t play nicely with the rest of the London boroughs.